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Holiday Season Magic: Repairing Relationships After Addiction Over the Holidays

son and father decorating christmas tree

Addiction impacts more than just the person doing drugs or drinking alcohol. Often friends and family members get dragged along for the ride. Especially after years of substance use, these close relationships can become strained and damaged.

How to Repair Relationships in Recovery During the Holidays

The holidays can be a time of joy, magic, and togetherness. For someone who recently left residential treatment and is newly sober, this feeling of closeness with friends and family may still be lacking. Relationships in early sobriety can be rocky, but the spirit of the holiday season can do wondrous things. Follow these tips for repairing relationships after addiction over the holidays to take advantage of this joyful time of year.


While you were still using, you probably hurt those closest to you. One of the most important parts of rebuilding relationships after addiction over the holidays is to apologize, especially if this is the first time you are seeing your family. Although you may have already said you were sorry over the phone or through email, an in-person apology can go a long way.

Show How You’ve Changed

It is likely that while you were using, you hurt those around you on more than one occasion and broke their trust. Telling someone you have changed is one thing, but it goes a lot further when you prove it. Because the holidays often involve getting together with friends and family, it is also a perfect time to show your loved ones this change. When they are able to see your life in recovery up close and the effort you are making to stay sober over the holidays, it will become a lot easier for them to trust you again.

Be Thoughtful

For a long time, you may have neglected those around you. Now that you are clean and sober, it is important to take other people’s thoughts and feelings into consideration. Make the effort to not only be present this holiday season but to also be thoughtful. Meaningful gifts or gestures that show you care can go a long way with your loved ones. The gifts do not have to be expensive either, just something that shows that unlike before you got a drug detox and got clean, you are now paying attention to someone else’s needs and desires besides your own.

Take Time for Yourself

Too much together time with your family when your relationships are still rocky may do more harm than good and leave you feeling triggered. Instead of putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation for the sake of appearances, it is okay to take time for yourself. Being able to recharge can help you be your best self around your family.

Be Patient

Repairing relationships after addiction over the holidays alone would be ideal, but this process takes time. Trust cannot be built overnight and healing these strained relationships cannot happen in a day, especially after years of substance use. Be patients with your loved ones. The longer you are in recovery and continue to prove yourself, the more your relationships will improve. For someone just out of addiction treatment, this time of year can be triggering and rebuilding relationships in recovery over the holidays is no easy task, but we are here. At Vertava Health Ohio, we offer a continuum of care to provide guidance and support to those in early recovery. If you or someone you care about is ready to finally get clean this holiday season, contact us today to learn more. The gift of recovery is the greatest gift of all.